Do you have a dog munching up grass as fast as they can, or do they just chew a few blades slowly choosing carefully which ones they want. There is a difference between the two with what is going on with your dog. So, why is your dog eating grass, can dogs eat grass and be OK, and what does it mean when dogs eat grass?
Dogs Eat All Kinds Of Things
If you have read some of my other articles, you have already probably heard about Hunter and Jake. They are the two Golden Retrievers that I had (I only have one left now). They have gotten into all kinds of trouble over the years. Needless to say, eating everything they would come across was another one of their passions.
They have eaten rocks, (many, many), blacktop, and of course they have eaten enough grass to mow an entire 18 hole golf course over the years. Of course when they have eaten rocks or blacktop, they always need to eat grass after, since they need to get that back out of their stomach. I do worry about them eating the rocks or blacktop, but I have stopped worrying about them eating grass.
Can Dogs Eat Grass
Yes, it is fine for dogs to eat grass. In fact, many veterinarians consider eating grass a normal dog behavior. Dogs in the wild also eat grass. “Pica” is a term for eating things that are not characterized as food. This is quite common among dogs.
Though there is no nutritional value from eating grass, eating grass won’t hurt your dog unless there are fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides used on the grass. Always make sure if your dog is eating grass, that the grass hasn’t been recently treated with any chemicals.
Not all dogs will vomit from eating grass. Less than 25% of dogs that eat grass will vomit after eating grass. Dogs that just nibble on grass generally won’t vomit and they may be eating it just because they enjoy the texture of the grass, or they might just need a little roughage in their diet. Grass is the most commonly eaten plant by dogs.
Being natural scavengers, dogs are programmed to search for nutrition wherever they can find it. Your dog might be eating grass because they like the flavor, or it could be because they are missing a nutritional need their regular food isn’t filling that they need, especially if they are missing fiber.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass When Sick
If you are reading this, you probably have experience when your dog might have a sudden burp and runs to the door. When you let him out, he immediately gulps down several mouths full of grass and then vomits it all up. Other signs you may have learned along the way is when your dog is suddenly very anxious, often extending his neck and making swallowing motions. Again, you probably quickly run to the door because of past experience, let your dog outside and they immediately start gulping down grass as quickly as they possibly can and than shortly after, vomit.
Dogs that eat grass to make themselves vomit, usually swallow grass as quickly as possible, barely chewing it. The long, unchewed pieces of grass tickle their throats to bring on the vomiting reaction. They will usually have this behavior when your dog has a gassy or upset stomach.
There could be other reasons that your dog eats grass. Your dog could be suffering from bloating, nausea, gas, suffering from intestinal upset, or something more serious like gastric relux or inflammatory bowel disease. You should talk to your vet if you can’t figure out what is causing your dog’s distress.
You know your dog better than anyone else, so you need to figure out what could be bothering your dog to cause this type of behavior. If you have seen your dog ingest something that they shouldn’t have, then you already have your answer, but there are other reasons why your dog might be having issues.
There are also dogs or times when your dog might just randomly choose a piece of grass here or there and slowly chew on grass. This could be because they might simply enjoy the taste of grass, or it could be out of boredom. If it is boredom, you should make sure that your dog is getting enough mental stimulation either with exercise or mental challenges.
Dogs know what’s best when it comes to intentionally voiding their system of something that could be toxic. Many experts also believe eating grass is a form of self-medication for your dog.
How To Help Your Dog
Many dog owners have found that when they have changed their dog over to a high fiber dog food, that the grass eating has stopped. If you are looking to try a high fiber dog food, my recommendation is Blue Wilderness Adult Grain Free Salmon Dog Food. If you decide to change your dog to a new food, make sure to mix old food with new food. This will be easier on their system than just completely changing their food to a new one.
You can add raw or lightly steamed fruits or vegetables. This might add the roughage that could calm your dog’s cravings. Dog friendly fruits and vegetables include sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, green beans, cucumbers, bananas, apples, and lettuce.
Add probiotics and digestive enzymes to your dog’s diet. Enzymes provide a rich source of amylase, lipase and protease, which can help your dog process food more successfully.
Probiotics can make sure that your dog has good bacteria in their stomach, which can help with eliminating your dog’s upset stomach. This is healthy for humans and pets. If you are adding probiotics to your dog’s diet, you will want to make sure that you are getting a probiotic that is specially designed for dogs. Probiotics formulas for humans were developed for humans. Dogs have a specific strain of bacteria unique to them, so they need a unique probiotic designed just for them. I would recommend Complete Probiotic for Pets.
Tips If You Have A Grass Eater
If you have a dog that likes to eat grass either just for the enjoyment of it, or because they quickly need to eat some grass to help an upset stomach, I have a few suggestions to help you out.
You can grow a grass or herb garden that is specifically for your dog. This way you will be sure that it is free of pesticides or fertilizers. It won’t take up much space, you can even grow in large pots, and you will always have greens available for your dog.
If you live in an area that has snow and you have decorative grasses around your home, make sure not to cut them down in the fall. This will allow something green that in most cases will stay above the snow and give your dog available greens in the winter when they need them. I used to cut down my decorative grasses in the fall to be ready for the spring, but for several years, I left several standing in the backyard that my dogs were able to get to even with all the snow. This ended up being very helpful for them when they weren’t able to find any other grasses.
Make sure if you have a grass eater, that it is only grass that they are eating. There are many plants and flowers that you might have planted by your house that could be toxic to your dog. If you are interested in seeing common landscaping plants that are toxic to dogs, read this article.
If you have any questions, or suggestions that could help others with their grass eaters, please leave a comment below.